Kent Law Clinic

I’m very proud of the work that we’ve
done in employment law, in immigration and nationality law and asylum law and
also in public rights-of-way. We’ve done some landmark asylum cases, achieving asylum for people that has broken new ground and it has had a
tremendously beneficial effect in later applicants for asylum and I think in a
wholly positive and fair way. In employment, we gained hundreds of
thousands of pounds for people by way of compensation in respect of unfair
dismissal. Well I worked on a case last year and
when we first started I met with a client, it was just one client. He
worked as a house parent and in a residential setting. As a house parent, part of your job is remain there overnight and sleep
overnight but the hours we were sleeping we weren’t being kind of paid for. We
were only paid for contact hours if we were woken up. And as it transpired
that’s actually illegal you know if you’re legally obliged to stay at your
place of work and sleep there you are technically still working and legally
they were obliged to pay us for some of the hours which they hadn’t been paying
us for. So we all managed to get our back pay paid and that was a result of the Kent Law Clinic. It would have cost them a hell of a lot to do
it without us but we worked incredibly hard on this case and it was something
that we I think myself and Toni especially felt really quite passionate
about because there was a lot of people missing out on a lot of money. And I
think without us they wouldn’t have known so where to go, what their legal
standpoint was because obviously we had one person come who then went and told other people what where they stood in the the legal area. I think it has made
a contribution, a modest contribution, but where it has contributed I think it has
improved the quality of life of many people and also improved the sense of community that there is a service for people who can’t afford to pay for a
private lawyer. There is a service which can help them, you know, with their problem. It’s one of the most unique features of the Kent Law School because it’s pro
bono work for students and as well as providing legal support for people
that live in the Kent area which they especially for people that can’t afford
legal advice so it’s a good experience on both ends because you
actually get to work with the solicitors you get to learn hands-on experience
working the case work, bundling, going to court. I had the opportunity for example
myself going to court and learning how to cross-examine a defendant. You would
never learn that anywhere else. It gives them tremendous skills that are
valuable vocationally in terms of a career in terms of employability. That’s
the most obvious benefit. It’s not the greatest benefit. I think the greatest
benefit is an improvement in their academic life and their improvement in
their studies. The greatest benefit is to their improved knowledge and
understanding of the law, their analytical abilities. You know, their
ability to reflect upon it and critique the law and to discuss it and to think
about ways that it could work better as well as the ways in which it does work.
And also I think the third benefit is that it’s given them a sense
of the importance of public service. The idea that you can make a difference
with the law that you’re learning at an early stage gives them a sense of, and a
connection with, people, that I think they take with them after they leave Kent. I love the Clinic. I think it’s a fantastic thing. One of the reasons I actually
wanted to come to this university was because of the Law Clinic. I remember seeing John Fitzpatrick speaking on the open days and it was one of the things that I really wanted to involved in. So when I had the opportunity to do it, it was just it was brilliant and this case was such a fantastic case to be a part of
because it had such a huge benefits for so many people and I mean you know. We
settled and the settlements could potentially change people’s lives. So I look back on it with fond memories. And I hope that, well I want to be a part of it for the rest of my life.

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